Healthcare News & Insights

Food allergies cause far more ER trips than previously known

New research indicates as many as 200,000 trips to the Emergency Department are caused by simple food allergies each year. That’s a big jump from the 30,000 most in the field had previously believed.

Researchers used figures from an annual survey of hospitals, along with more recent medical studies, to arrive at the higher number. The report was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The higher number of cases isn’t a matter of false alarms or people seeking treatment for minor cases — 90,000 cases each year were cases of often life-threatening anaphylaxis.

The study also found that the number of food allergy cases that wind up in the ER are increasing far faster than expected — at one children’s hospital, the number of cases more than doubled in just six years. While that increase roughly correlates with the increase in the number of people diagnosed with food allergies, no one is quite sure why more people are being diagnosed to begin with.

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